Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

May 30, 2005 13:23 ET

DFO/Media Advisory: Seizure of the Portuguese Vessel Santa Mafalda and Arrest of the Vessel Master for Unauthorized Entry and Fishing in Canadian Fisheries Waters in 2003

ST. JOHN'S, NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR--(CCNMatthews - May 30, 2005) - Media are advised that senior officials from Fisheries and Oceans Canada: Morley Knight, Director of Conservation and Protection in Newfoundland and Labrador; Wade Spurrell, Director of Operational Services at the Canadian Coast Guard in Newfoundland and Labrador; and Paul Cuillerier, Director General of Conservation and Protection in Ottawa, will be available to respond to questions relating to the May 29, 2005 seizure of the Portuguese vessel Santa Mafalda for fishing in Canadian fishing waters in 2003.



Date: Monday, May 30, 2005

Time: 15:00 Newfoundland Daylight Savings Time

Location: E.B. Dunne Room
Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Centre,
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Whitehills Road


Media can participate via teleconference by dialing 1-888-789-0089 and providing the operator with Reservation No. T569907F. We ask that all teleconferencing media be on-line by 14:55 NDST (13:25 EST).

A Statement and Backgrounder related to this announcement are attached and posted on the DFO Web site at: http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/media_e.htm



STATEMENT

Fisheries and Oceans Canada Officers
Seize Fishing Vessel Santa Mafalda


On Sunday, May 29, 2005, Canadian Fishery Officers and crew from the CCGS Leonard J. Cowley intercepted and seized the Portuguese Fishing Vessel Santa Mafalda and arrested its master in Canadian waters south of Newfoundland and Labrador.

This operational activity stems from an incident in May, 2003, as a result of which the Santa Mafalda and its master were charged for unauthorized entry and fishing in Canada's Exclusive Economic Zone within Canada's 200 mile limit. It was only a few days ago that the Santa Mafalda returned to Canadian waters for the first time since the alleged violations occurred two years ago.

The Santa Mafalda was enroute from St. Pierre et Miquelon to the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) Regulatory Area, outside Canada's 200-mile limit, when it was intercepted by the Cowley on Sunday evening. The seizure of the vessel was without incident, and the Santa Mafalda, under Canadian control, was escorted by the Cowley to St. John's, arriving on Monday, May 30.

The seizure of the Santa Mafalda and arrest of the master is the result of an investigation that concluded that the vessel was fishing in Canadian fisheries waters (inside Canada's 200-mile limit), without authorization on May 14, 2003. Any encroachment inside Canadian fisheries waters without authorization is an offence under the Coastal Fisheries Protection Act (CFPA).

The master of the Santa Mafalda was charged in November, 2003 with unauthorized entry and fishing in Canadian fisheries waters under sections 4(1) and 17 of the Coastal Fisheries Protection Act. At the time the charges were laid, the vessel was no longer in Canadian jurisdiction so no further action could be taken at that time. This is the first time that the vessel has entered Canadian jurisdiction since the charges were laid.

This operation is in response to illegal fishing within Canadian waters and is not related to high seas fisheries governance in the NAFO Regulatory Area. Illegal fishing by foreign vessels in Canadian waters is very rare. If convicted under the CFPA, the master of the Santa Mafalda could be fined up to $100,000 on the charge of unauthorized entry and fined up to $150,000 on the charge of unauthorized fishing.

The vessel will remain under seizure pending the posting of a bond to secure its release. This could occur after the matter is brought before Provincial Court in St. John's.


BACKGROUNDER


Seizure of the Portuguese Fishing Vessel Santa Mafalda

A Fisheries and Oceans Canada investigation concluded that the Portuguese vessel Santa Mafalda fished inside Canada's 200-nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone without authorization on May 14, 2003. The master of the Santa Mafalda was subsequently charged in November, 2003 with unauthorized entry and fishing in Canadian fisheries waters.

On Sunday evening, May 29, 2005, Canadian Fishery Officers and crew from the Canadian Coast Guard vessel CCGS Leonard J. Cowley intercepted and seized the Santa Mafalda in Canadian fisheries waters as it was enroute from St. Pierre et Miquelon to the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization Regulatory Area, outside Canada's 200-mile limit.

The following is a chronology of events on May 29 of the Canadian operation to intercept the Santa Mafalda. All times are approximate, and Newfoundland Daylight Savings Time (NDST).



- 2:30 p.m. The Santa Mafalda departed St. Pierre et Miquelon. The
CCGS Leonard J. Cowley proceeded to a position to intercept and
board the Santa Mafalda approximately 70 miles south of Cape St.
Mary's. The operation was supported by the CCGS Cape Roger and
aerial surveillance.

- 9:30 p.m. Fishery Officers onboard the Leonard J. Cowley hailed
Santa Mafalda from 5 miles away. The Santa Mafalda agreed to a
boarding and slowed course. Weather in the area was favorable for
boarding with good visibility.

- 9:54 p.m. Canadian Fishery Officers and a boarding team from the
CCGS Cowley boarded the Portuguese fishing vessel Santa Mafalda.

- 10:30 p.m. The Leonard J. Cowley reported that the bridge of the
Santa Mafalda was secured, the Master placed under arrest and the
ship seized without incident.

Canadian Fishery Officers seized the vessel and arrested the Master
in accordance with:

- Section 4 (a) of the Coastal Fisheries Protection Action (CFPA)
which states that, "No person, being aboard a foreign fishing
vessel or being a member of the crew or attached to or employed on
a foreign fishing vessel, shall in Canada or in Canadian fisheries
waters fish or prepare to fish."

- Section 17 (1) of the CFPA which states that, "Every person is
guilty of an offence who:
a) being Master or in command of a fishing vessel,
(i) enters Canadian fisheries waters contrary to this Act, or
(ii) without legal excuse, the proof of which lies on that
person, fails to bring to when required to do so by any
protection officer or on signal of a government vessel".

The Santa Mafalda is a 65-metre stern trawler. It was escorted to the
port of St. John's by the CCGS Leonard J. Cowley, accompanied part of
the way by the CCGS Cape Roger.


Internet : http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca

Contact Information

  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada, St. John's
    Jan Woodford, Director of Communications
    Newfoundland and Labrador Region
    (709) 772-7622
    or
    Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ottawa
    Phil Jenkins
    Media Relations
    (613) 990-7537
    or
    Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ottawa
    Sujata Raisinghani
    Press Secretary, Office of the Minister
    (613) 992-3474